WRDTP ESRC Collaborative Awards 2021/22:  Information for academic colleagues submitting a project proposal to the WRDTP

WRDTP ESRC Collaborative awards (8 awards, 100% funded)

The WRDTP Collaborative Awards Scheme aims to ensure that at least 30% of studentships are linked to partners in the private, public or third sectors.  These links do not have to involve funding and could be internships, placements or other forms of meaningful collaboration.

This means that our Collaborative Awards which we have made available for competitive bids from departments do not need to have secured financial support from an external body, but must at least show strong evidence of a real partnership with that body. Nevertheless, we expect that the project partner will meet any travel, subsistence and accommodation costs incurred by the student associated with visits made to the non-academic organisation.

Applications that include additional financial support will be especially welcomed. 

Please note: Only ONE proposal can be submitted by the Principal Supervisor.

It is expected that within supervision teams, there will be at least one academic member of staff who has prior experience of supervision of PhD students to successful completion. Therefore, where an academic staff member has not yet successfully supervised a PhD student to completion, they should be paired with a more experienced member of the supervision team who has successfully supervised PhD students to completion. Colleagues are advised to also consult their University for any additional local requirements in terms of supervision arrangements.

Please note: All partner universities will run an internal process of peer review for the Collaborative Awards scheme, given the highly competitive nature of this competition. Details of the internal review process will be announced locally by each university. When submitting a collaborative award application, you will be required to confirm that your application has been subjected to internal peer review at your own university. Failure to engage with the internal peer review process may result in the disqualification of your application.

Process and timeframe

We are inviting academic units to develop project proposals to the Collaborative Award competition 2021/22.

The following table summarises the process timelines:

Collaborative Awards

  Date Who Process
1. July 2020 DTP Office DTP announces 2021/22 Studentship Competition


2. w/c 5 October 2020 Academic colleagues Development Workshop* for new Collaborative Award proposals (see workshop timing below)


3. November 2020 HEIs and academic colleagues Internal peer review of Collaborative Award applications, details to be announced locally
4. 12:00hrs, 4 December 2020 Units of Delivery (Depts/Schools) Deadline for Proposal Forms to be completed (see wrdtp.ac.uk for details)


5. 14 December – 6 January 2021 Academic Quality Committee Assessors to score nominations
6. 6 January – 13 January 2021 DTP Office Processing scores and preparing for Panel meetings
7. 13 January 2021 Academic Quality Committee Academic Quality Committee Moderation Panel meets
8. w/c 18 January 2021 DTP Office Collaborative Awards announced
9. Date tbc Academic colleagues Successful Collaborative Award holders set own local deadline and advertise studentships, shortlist and interview


10. 12:00hrs, 14 April 2021 Scholarship/Administrative Officers DTP student Nomination Forms and Application Packs completed/submitted to DTP Office for quality assurance checking and assessment
11. End of April 2021 or asap after that date Scholarship/Administrative Officers Applicants notified of result

*Development Workshop for new Collaborative Award proposals

The slides and presentation from the Development Workshops for new Collaborative Award proposals for 2021/22 can be viewed below:

Application Procedure

Applicants must complete the: White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Collaborative Awards 2021/22 – Proposal Form.

The Form requires the following 2 File Uploads.

  1. A letter from the partner indicating their support for the collaboration (Section 2)
  2. WRDTP Collaborative Award Project Details Upload Template (Section 3)

Additional guidance is available below.

Please note that the online Proposal Form (Google Form) should be completed in one sitting, therefore it is recommended that you download the Guidance document below as a WORD document (to do this click File – Download As – Microsoft Word (doc x)) should you wish to preview the required information in advance. You do not need to submit a Word Document copy of the form as well as submitting the proposal form online.

Assessment Criteria

Proposals will be assessed by the WRDTP Academic Quality Committee using the following criteria:

  • Collaborative excellence: the extent and nature of interaction with the non-academic partner organisation
  • Project excellence: significance, originality, how this will contribute to knowledge
  • Pathway excellence: fit with, and development of, pathway research strategy
  • Supervisor Excellence: the suitability and experience of the supervisory team
  • Training excellence: the appropriateness and quality of the training provided
  • Covid-19 resilience: the extent to which the project has appropriate and robust Covid adaptations built in

For further detail on the Assessment Criteria, please see the WRDTP Collaborative Award Proposal Scoring Criteria

See also: ESRC Postgraduate Collaboration

If you have any queries contact Charlotte Massarella, WRDTP Manager, at c.l.massarella@sheffield.ac.uk.